For millions of kids in America each year, summer camp is a cherished part of their childhood. It’s often a young person’s chance to run wild in the great outdoors, play all day and splurge on s’mores around the campfire all night. Summer camps can also provide critical development opportunities for kids such as communication skills, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Some states have given summer camps the green light to move forward with extra precautions put into place, while others are still in limbo. Even with extra safety precautions in place, some parents may not feel comfortable sending their kids to camp during the pandemic, but still want to provide the experience for their kids.
Travis Perry, CEO of ChordBuddy, has a few tips for parents to help recreate the summer camp experience for kids at home.
- Get Your Camp Set Up. It’s important to set the scene for your summer camp experience to allow kids to be fully immersed in the experience. Create a sign with the name of your at-home camp as well as arrows out of construction paper that point to the different areas that activities will be taking place. If you have room in your backyard, pitch a tent and let kids sleep outside for the night or create your own tent in your living room with sheets and blankets.
- Arts & Crafts Time. There are endless arts and craft ideas on Pinterest and video tutorials on YouTube. Use these free resources to jump start your creativity. Some of the more popular summer camp crafts are making friendship bracelets, tie dye shirts and homemade windchimes and rain sticks.
- Neighborhood Hike. Make each child a checklist of items you see in nature like certain animals, flowers and rocks. Have kids check off the items on the list as they find them. You can also have kids collect these items and do a craft project with them when you get back home such as painting the rocks and pressing flowers to make bookmarks.
- Living Room or Backyard Obstacle Course– Set up an obstacle course in your living room or backyard with stations such as crawling under a sheet or through a tunnel, hopscotch using hula hoops, carrying a ping pong ball on a spoon from one side of the room or yard to the other and rolling up towels to use as a balance beam.
- Music Class & Dance Party– Have kids make their own musical instruments like maracas or drums and create their own songs. Take your music lessons up a notch and use your old guitar or purchase a cheap one off of Amazon and teach kids to play. You can use the ChordBuddy guitar learning system to help kids quickly and easily master playing, so that it doesn’t become a frustrating experience. And since most kids love dancing, crank up some music and let kids create their own dance routines, have dance-off contests, or put on classics like the Macarena and the Electric Slide for choreographed fun.
- Food & Bug Juice. What’s a camp experience without roasting hot dogs? If you can’t build an actual fire or don’t have a fire pit in your backyard, kids can still use a long stick and a grill to roast their lunch or dinner. And don’t forget the popular camp drink bug juice, which is simply made from any Kool-Aid mix. Or for a refreshing drink, opt for some homemade lemonade. You can also have kids lend a hand in making any food, snacks and drink to help teach them cooking skills.
- Campfire, S’mores and Sing Alongs. End the day right with a campfire around a fire pit or if that’s not a possibility, use a bunch of candles in a round, metal tin to create the same effect. Don’t forget the s’mores fixings! And bust out the guitar to allow kids to show off their new guitar playing skills from their earlier music class.